depth and mutilation

The statue of the Madonna of Cirkewwa - By Pstraudo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons - cropped and digitally altered

Yesterday I was chatting by text with my sister about astrology, and I mentioned that I  felt I had, for the first time, really accepted the water and the Capricorn in myself. I had only recently felt like I was getting a handle on Neptune in Pisces, its anti-glamour, archaic, timeless, liquid connectivity (a bit like a network of Cronenbergesque  imaginative flesh spectres, an ancient world of them, doing the transdimensional work our conscious minds try to substitute for). I can’t say too much about it, but now here I am, profoundly comfortable with the eerie and shadowed and uncanny.

This morning I had a dream in which I had lost my fingers, or at least quite a number of them, though the stumps were already perfectly healed. I wasn’t overly concerned in the dream, though I was a little anxious to not lose any more of them. On waking I immediately thought of the myth of Sedna*, the Inuit marine goddess who had her fingers severed, and went to the bottom of the sea, where her fingers became all the watery creatures the Inuit depended upon. I had little doubt that was the meaning for me. And here was the water again.

Earlier in the year me and my sister had been talking about water consciousness, in the sense that Richard Gardner spoke of it. One of the great dynamic forces driving the evolution of consciousness; magical, miraculous, otherworldly, connecting and enchanting. Richard thought it was only this consciousness that would save us from the scourges of our outwardly focussed world, and prevent what he predicted as a fiery  version of the mythical flood. This was long before anyone had heard of global warming.

Sedna as an astrological object is very slow moving. Pluto moves like a ping pong ball by comparison. Its orbital period is about 11,400 years¹, which is beyond the life span of civilizations, whereas the time it takes Uranus to circle the sky is about one human lifetime, by comparison. It’s difficult to cast such a transpersonal object in standard psychological terms, but that doesn’t of course mean that it doesn’t have a powerful meaning that we can run up against, just as we do with fixed stars. But unlike the fixed stars, Sedna does orbit the Sun. So however distant and alien, it is a sister to the Earth.

I think Sedna relates to water consciousness,  a dynamic and archaic consciousness that predates our species. Sedna’s story does in fact include all kinds of water element failings, at least in the form most usually referenced by astrologers. Narcissism, infantilism, gullibility, irrationality, self-victimization. Anyone with strong water will recognise some of these pitfalls. But she ends up at the bottom of the ocean, the most monstrous part of the unconscious (if you like), giving rise to all the life of the sea from her severed fingers. I maintain that Sedna is not a personal force, but then I have always maintained that neither is the imagination. It may be that feeling and imagination are far more than individually psychological. In fact this makes a great deal of sense to me, though it goes against our rationalistic, materialistic assessments of reality.

Sedna may relate to the depth of water, the element and its ancient history. She can only be understood by a dive into our own water world (not a pretty journey, for that part of us seeks the Sun usually), and the acceptance of its dank, cold, inhuman uncanniness. And also, its miraculous world of monsters and tragedy and preternaturally animated creatures.

When the shaman is combing Sedna’s hair he is maybe not just tending her, but creating an entire world in which she can live, while we live free of her more terrible pains and deprivations. While we come to accept both this world, and the ghastly power that we all float in like jelly, amniotic fluid, formaldehyde, filmy nebulae. He is like the storytellers who gave form and dignity to all our monsters. Making Frankenstein beautiful, at the bottom of the sea.

A world we share with everything that lives, whether imaginary or otherwise. Where deep greens and blues are barely stirred by sunlight’s descendants, and fields of leather and mucous sway, chill and peaceful as watery space.

¹ this is the time it takes to make one orbit of the Sun. I don’t know exactly how long it takes to go round the whole zodiac as seen from Earth, but it would be a bit longer.

* there are a number of different forms of the myth, though astrologers only seem to know one. The link provided gives a wider range, while this link from Historica Canada gives a variant with more background.


wounds and noble lineages

The Education of Achilles by Chiron. 18th.century. The Italian School.

Chiron is an interesting figure in both mythology and astrology.

He is the noble centaur, a mentor to heroes, a healer, astrologer and wise teacher. He also gains a wound which won’t heal.

In astrology Chiron is again connected with healing themes, and with the inner wound that we just can’t shake, that torments us repeatedly, and that in a sense we have this tendency to re-open, and rewound ourselves with. It’s one of our big challenges (but also opportunities) on the road to wholeness.

The reason that Chiron’s wound wouldn’t heal is because it was the result of a venom tipped arrow head which should have killed him, but due to his immortal nature it couldn’t. So he had to suffer until a deal was done on his behalf with Zeus that he should give up his life for the freedom of Prometheus.

The reason that Chiron is immortal is that he is a son of Saturn. Astrologically this should tell us something about the theme of our persistent wound, the pain we can’t seem to let go of or escape, or apparently escape visiting. This wound, which can seem like a curse or an obsession, is actually linked to our inherent divinity, our deepest connection with the life force, with our sense of meaning and value. This is why it is so hard to let go of, because it carries a clue to our deepest value, even as it seems impossible of happy fulfilment. It is a curse because it is a blessing we know deeply, but can’t seem to live ourselves. Anything less valuable would not cause such pain in its denial. Anyone less valuable would be killed by such a wound. And there is the gold in the riddle of pain. Only one touched by the divine would suffer and bear such a thing. And we are all touched by the divine, at a place in ourselves shrouded by the wound.

I think here we can also learn from Chiron’s parentage. To understand Chiron’s place in our natal chart we need to also look at our Saturn, his father and source of his divinity. Indeed, there is a definite resonance between Chironic and Saturnine experience. Just think of how Saturn affects the experience of the house it is in, or the affairs of the sign for that matter. But Chiron is a centaur that traverses the orbits of Saturn and Uranus, so brings the awakening potential of the latter. Another resonance here is that Prometheus, who Chiron ultimately liberates, is himself such a Uranian figure.

In any case, it shows the power and intensely personal meaning of the healing journey, and its universal connection at the same time.

bad girls and crimson lads

Astrology can be a very rewarding study, as it deals in a psychological language that subjectively correlates with our inner and outer lives. It does this in a way which is not rationally explainable, but due to its potency it seems to dig down into Nature. For the receptive astrologer it can illuminate principles that structure experience, and elements of identity in a luminous manner. It is not a science, nor a rational study, but it is real in the same sense that poetry and artistic meaning are. Its archaic interaction with our lives is one of the reasons I consider it akin to magick and divination. Magick and astrology both inhabit an intermediate, ensouled world between matter, body and psyche.

Astrology uses the planets and other astronomical bodies, and associates these with principles which it links to the gods of mythology (most commonly, though not exclusively Roman). These might not be understood in the way that a hard polytheist would, but they nevertheless carry an influence which can follow mythological themes and structures, in poetic recombinations. This is why exploring your natal chart can almost seem like the discovery of your own, personal sacred themes, as if you were discovering an unwritten mythology, which yet resonates with larger themes, but without absorbing or replacing the individual life and its meaning.

I’ve had some interesting experiences with this kind of thing. One of the challenges in my own chart lies in a square (90° aspect) I have between The Moon and Venus (the latter being on the IC). The square is generally consider a “difficult” or challenging aspect, as the planetary energies have conflicting modes of expression, due to the signs they are in. So for instance one may express impulsively and spontaneously, and the other express cautiously and sensitively, but being linked, they have to learn how to get the combinations of their energies “right”. In the case of the Moon and Venus, these are both archetypally feminine energies, and very compatible simply as energies, but the square aspect creates an awkwardness, with my responsive and reflective, receptive Moon nature being independent and spontaneous, and my more romantic, sensual and relating nature being protective and nurturing. I’m very Moon-Venus by nature, but it takes work to understand my own awkwardnesses and sensitivities, insecurities etc.

The challenge is further elucidated by my Moon being conjunct both Eris and Black Moon Lilith*. It’s important for me to be able to reconcile both my Venus (which is also my chart ruler) and the complex of Moon, Black Moon and Eris, for me to be myself most deeply, and have a full life where I fulfil my nature and “purpose”.

Recognising the necessary relationship (for squares are powerful relationships, and as necessary as any other) between Black Moon Lilith/Moon and Venus has itself been very important for me in understanding myself. Darkstar Astrology says the following about the conjunction:

“Moon conjunct Lilith fuses two ‘moons’ together. So we get the mother and the anti-mother in one being. I think it becomes rather like the Black Madonna, it is extra potent and a Virgo archetype. This combination has to successfully merge the paradox of the virgin and the whore or the very worst manifestation of Lilith can surface. At its best this is sheer priestess and occult ability at the highest level. The conjunction can work as a hard or soft aspect, so when it is good it is very good, but when it is bad it is terrible”

Darkstar Astrology

Yup, I get that. In fact it’s been one of the themes of my life, first surviving (in my earlier life), and then understanding this, and its meaning for me.

The connection with this in perception came about after I had come to relate to a deity that isn’t found in astrology at present though, the Thelemic goddess Babalon. This itself was accompanied by events in my life, which led me to search inwardly. Our lives are driven from deep within us at crucial points. Babalon is based upon a reinterpretation of The Whore of Babylon, and she is both a Venusian goddess, and also a transformative spiritual agent with “demonic” (or daemonic) associations. The above mentioned merging of “the paradox of the virgin and whore” is apparent in her qualities, for she is both deeply sexual and powerfully spiritual, and evokes Virgo’s self-possession, but with Scorpio’s transformative and taboo inheritance thrown in.

I knew Babalon was important to the person I most deeply was, and knew I had to become. Now I can see it in my natal chart, and the patterns fall into place still more. Love, nurturance, sexuality, spiritual transformation and the most raw forces of life and desire are all called forth, to confront shadow, and truly love.

Virgo and Scorpio are placed either side of Libra, the Venusian sign most associated with relationship and balance. In terms of astrological rulerships of signs, we have the planets Venus and Mars, combined under the auspices of Mercury/Hermes.

Babalon is an archetype of the “Scarlet Woman” in Crowley’s system, but this same energy can and does manifest through males. I like to call the male counterpart “crimson lads”, but that’s just a little poetic license.

In astrology, if you follow intuition, feeling, instinct and creativity, you can come to listen to its language more personally. At the right time, this can help to illuminate our authentic experience and natures.


Star of Babalon

* I’ve written before on the subject of Black Moon Lilith, and this “imaginary Earth” is a fascinating astrological point that can resonate on many levels.

moving on

I think it might be time to ease off on the politics a bit for the blog, as it just gets too negative and draining in some ways. Not that it isn’t necessary sometimes, but analysing mass-spectacles does end up tiring, even if things like the shearing apart of the populace and the old media and political classes are interesting.

In fact a great deal of what has happened recently has some astrological backdrop. In part it is the drawn out end of the Uranus-Pluto square, but it has also been the Saturn-Neptune square which has just disengaged, which is an aspect of mass disillusion (and there has been a lot of disillusion). Political institutions are seen as corrupt, ineffective and unaccountable. The media is seen to be lying and peddling a kind of glamour that is out of touch with reality. We’ve had the migrant crisis, Islamist terrorism, a turning against the EU, and the weirdest US election I can remember. Waters (Neptune in Pisces) without a map (square Saturn in Sagittarius). People want authenticity (Uranus in Aries) rather than established power (square Pluto in Capricorn), and disentangling the effects of the original Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the mid 60s can surprise with exactly what is what. Threats and supposed discrediting of reputation, or calling on the moral clichés of 4 decades, aren’t working to control people’s choices, and that also makes astrological sense in fact.

The Saturn-Neptune square is essentially over now though, and the Saturn aspect that now takes over is a trine to Uranus. This is a progressive (in the real sense), workable, reconstructive aspect, and deals in answers that work, ideals that can be made concrete. It’s good news for a good deal of the rest of Saturn in Sagittarius, and for the end of the Uranus-Pluto square.

So maybe this is a good time to drop some of the politics (not promising mind you), and focus on the important stuff of our lives.

Ottoman surrender of Jerusalem By American Colony (Jerusalem) (Library of Congress[1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ottoman surrender of Jerusalem By American Colony (Jerusalem) (Library of Congress) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – digitally altered

walking with the wolf

Mars retrograde

Wolves and Roses

There is something pleasant about planets in retrograde motion. Who wouldn’t love it, or at least be curious, when Nature goes backwards. Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall (or through the mirror).

The one that is happening this Summer (now in fact) is Mars. A few other planets are also going retrograde over this period, but let’s focus on the red planet. Mars retrogrades happen about every 26 months (and last roughly 10 – 12 weeks).

I think Mars is somewhat underestimated, being both a personal planet, and the “malefic” that we haven’t done so much to redeem. I think that is because it is personal, yet it is also the first step outside of the Earth’s orbit, and has a key part in the transformation of personal energy (which is one of our species stumbling blocks). This energy is basically what we get all our…

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call off the dogs, smokey moon

In a little under a week we have a Full Moon, and a lunar eclipse. It will be a partial one, penumbral, so more shadowed than blood, and it follows the solar eclipse of two weeks prior. The solar eclipse was all about letting go, and the lunar eclipse should bring this to its culmination.

While the solar eclipse occurred in Pisces, the lunar eclipse has drifted into Aries-Libra territory, cardinal signs affected by the Uranus-Pluto square, even though the Sun and Moon are a long way off the positions of Uranus and Pluto, which are towards the end of the second decanate of their signs. But still, this cardinal connection gives us a clue as to the nature of this eclipse.

This eclipse group finds its mirror at the other end of the year, in about six months time in September 2016. The coming six months sees the beginning of the falling apart of the Uranus-Pluto square. It’s a long, on-off fall apart, lasting about three years before final disengagement, but this is the beginning of the long end of this generation defining aspect.

The solar eclipse has been a powerful opportunity to  release, let go, surrender all the aggro stuff to Pisces, and tend back towards the work in Virgo.  Very little “cardinal effect” from Uranus-Pluto thanks to that, as there has been very little cardinal involvement. This is brilliant, it’s a perfect let go. But it ends up culminating in cardinal Aries and Libra, with a lunar eclipse.

Lunar eclipses are a bit like brief, but very significantly placed periods of radio silence. Just the point when the Moon should be brightest, and the psychic gates most open, the universal information download the greatest, there is a pause. The hum stops. The radio is quiet.

Over the next six months, everything that has been hammered and tested and stretched and cracked and discarded, tempered and reforged in the last six years will start to become visible as what it is going to be. It won’t be through for another three years, but we’ll start to see what it’s like when the process isn’t there. We’ll start to see what we have left, and what we can work with way beyond this time.

Keep on releasing for now though. Enjoy all this mutable surrender of what you don’t need. It’s good stuff.


Damsgård hovedgård in Bergen by HMPinnsvinet (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons – digitally altered

here comes the Sun (eclipsed)

Was that a heavy Full Moon we just went through? I thought it was quite heavy. But what we are headed for right now is a New Moon, that is what it is rolling down towards, in fact a solar eclipse.

This eclipse is part of a Saros cycle that includes the solar eclipses of February 1998 and 1980. Here is the chart:

Pisces Solar eclipse simple

Now I have this feeling that everyone and their dog is going to go “ooh, Neptune Sun Moon Chiron and Mercury!” and talk about inspiration and healing and something or other, but I have just two words for that, and they are South Node. One degree off Chiron, which hooks in that whole little train of eclipse planets. Of course, the Nodes are connected with eclipses, by definition, and this is powerful, and the themes are all there, but they couldn’t be further from where the growth and work is, which is at the North Node. And there is Jupiter. Jupiter is your real friend here, Jupiter in Virgo, very good for healing work, very good for detail, going over it once, going over it twice, verifying the research.

You know who your other friend is here? Saturn. Testing both ends of the Node axis planets. Scepticism, subsisting meaning, never mind blissing out or wallowing in wounds, or getting buried in detail (though the detail wins if in doubt here), but the meaning that lasts, that makes sense in the individual case.

And your other friend is Pluto. In Capricorn. Easing this tension, translating between resource (South Node) and use (North Node). What lives. Because what stagnates doesn’t live, and what works does.

A little trick is that Uranus helps Saturn in its testing work here, with its progressive, reforming, more open minded influence, but Jupiter doesn’t get Uranus at this time, not in the ordinary sense (Virgo to Aries, china shop and football player). But as with any inconjunct, an individual can make it work, and the toning down influence of Saturn on Uranus makes it a little easier in fact.

What I really want to say here is focus on Jupiter in Virgo. That’s where the work is, the potential, the growth, and if there are any dreams, or healing to be had, it is Jupiter that will be actually doing the work to make it real here.

Eclipses bring in different cycles of time to what we are used to habitually: They take us through solar and lunar eclipse groupings that span roughly six months periods (though the groupings are very variable), eg we are having a solar then lunar eclipse in March, reflected by a lunar then  solar eclipse in September 2016. Then there are the 18 year Saros cycles. These ripples and waves in time are some way off the run of the mill fare of personality and psychology focussed astrology, and they can have very magical qualities.

Good luck, and happy surfing.

Make it what you want.

PS: 7th March 2016 – a big thing that does I think come with this eclipse is the chance to let go . The Pisces South Node, it’s made for letting go. If you held on, it would be stagnation. But you can let go. That way also you get the perfect combo for doing the Virgo North Node. Let go at the South, work at the North. On to the future, and to the new, where the real healing and growth is.


Hedge Woundwort, Moles Lane by Derek Harper [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons